Thursday, September 18, 2014

Three Minute Recorder Lesson 2 - B-A-G

Three Minute Recorder - Lesson 2 from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Lesson 2 focuses on the notes B, A and G, which are often the first three notes anyone learns on the recorder and all the notes you will need to play "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and many other songs.

Three Minute Recorder Lesson 1 - Basic Technique

Three Minute Recorder - Lesson 1 from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

Hi third graders and ensemble members -- here is the first of several videos to help you review what we are learning about your recorders in class.  You'll notice that these videos show me using one of our old Yamaha recorders instead of our black Peripoles.  I think the white recorder makes it easier to see my fingers.

Since I am asking you to practice 6 minutes a day, just by watching one of these three minute videos you are halfway there!

Space Unit Ends/Recorders Begin!

In upper grades we completed the composition and choreography piece inspired by the Hubble images i firth grade, while the third graders were given their recorders.  We're using Peripole recorders this year, which is a significant upgrade and should help producing a sweeter sound.  The other thing that will help that is practice.  To that end I will be posting recorder videos on this blog,  That are called "Three Minute Recorder," and they are a good way to review and practice what we are learning in class.

Not quite fall

I usually teach my falling leaf lesson in first grade about four weeks into the year.  On the old school calendar that was just about the time there was a bit of fall in the air.  It would be hard to describe the last couple of weeks of 90 plus degree weather as fall-like, but first graders still had a good time constructing movement pieces with scarves and talking about life cycles and descending and ascending scales.

Meanwhile in second grade the kids were learning about work songs, specifically songs sung by sailors to help with the drudgery of moving cargo.  As always I try to give them a little something of the experience (not the drudgery part).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fifth Grade's space adventure continues

Last week the student in each 5th grade class composed some music to accompany a series of images taken by the hubble space telescope which we then edited into a short film.  Mr. Galvez's class's version is posted below.

Wonderland Music Presents - Space - the Final Frontier! from Richard Lawton on Vimeo.

The next phase of this project will be to develop a movement piece to accompany the film, exploring the concept of time and space in a different way.

Wonderland has bass bars!

Thanks to my friend (and former teacher) Will Salmon, Wonderland now has a complete set of contra bass bars for our instrumentarium on extended loan.  These super low notes really add a lot of depth to the music we play in the classroom.  I used them all week to continue our study of instruments make sounds in first grade, for example, or to add to our accompaniment of "Los Ninos En Espana Cantan" in fourth.  I can't wait to try them out in Ensemble.  Thank Will!

The bars are not the only new instruments we'll be using this week.  Third graders will be receiving their recorders after spending a few weeks reviewing the basics of rhythmic notation and being introduced to the concept us pitch in notation.  For the recorders we have FOW to thank, so thank you parents!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Space - the Final Frontier!

I'm especially pleased with the way one of the fifth grade activities is working out.

The students were given six images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and asked to choice which one inspired them the most.  They were then given ten minutes working in small groups to develop a piece of music to accompany the image as part of film each class is putting together.  Next week they will use the film as backdrop to a movement piece each class will develop.  This is the first year I've used this lesson and so far it is a definite keeper.

Developing Music Reading Skills

I generally don't spend a lot of time focusing of developing reading skills, as the Orff approach calls for improvisation and play and reading can slow that process down.  However, it is important that the kids know how music is put together, so beginning in second grade we start using activities like these chopsticks on paper to illustrate beat, rhythm and accents.  Believe it our not the "score" below is for the Moroccan song "Ram Sam Sam."  Then in third grade we add the note heads and begin to discuss subdivision of the beat.

Week 2 in the books -- lots of great stuff happening

Ensembles met on Monday and a barely had time to catch my breath let alone take any pictures.

Meanwhile regular music classes are in full swing.  Kindergardeners were focused on learning the names of the parts of the body (in Spanish and English), while First Grade learned a couple of activities that focus on classifying and categorizing.  Who says being organized has to be dull?